Manchester United faced a tough draw in the 2022-23 Europa League group stages, while Arsenal will face Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV Eindhoven.
United finished sixth in the Premier League last season, meaning they missed out on Champions League football this season and were entered into Friday’s draw with Arsenal, who return to European competition after a year’s absence.
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Erik ten Hag’s side have been drawn in Group E, where they will face a tough task with Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia Nicosia standing in their way to qualify for the knockout stages of final.
This year’s competition will see Cristiano Ronaldo make his first appearance in Europe’s second-tier club competition since 2002, when he played for Sporting Lisbon against Partizan Belgrade as a 17-year-old.
Sheriff will be looking to repeat his giant-slaying heroics against United this season, with the Moldovan club claiming an unlikely 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League last season. Group E will also see a return to Manchester for midfielder David Silva, who joined Sociedad in 2020 after a hugely successful decade at Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will face off in Group A alongside PSV, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich.
The draw means Van Nistelrooy will return to face Arsenal after enjoying a fierce rivalry during his five years as a player at United, culminating in when he missed a penalty against Arsenal in 2003, an event important in North London. club’s “Invincible” season.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho will face Manuel Pellegrini again when Conference League winners Roma take on Real Betis in Group C. Mourinho infamously replaced Pellegrini at Madrid in 2010, and the pair have faced off since then, both in La Liga and when Mourinho’s Chelsea beat Pellegrini. Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2015.
This season’s Europa League group stages will run from September 8 to November 3, ending weeks before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Round of 16 kicks off on February 16, 2023, with the final set to be held at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary on May 31, 2023.
Meanwhile, in the Conference League draw later on Friday, West Ham United will face Anderlecht, FCSB and Danish side Silkeborg in Group B.
David Moyes’ side reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season but were beaten by eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
Scottish side Hearts have been placed in a tough group with Italian side Fiorentina, Turkey’s Istanbul Basaksehir and Latvia’s RFS.
Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Villarreal are in the same group as Hapoel Beersheba, Austria Vienna and Lech Poznan.
GROUP A: Arsenal (England), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Bodo/Glimt (Norway), FC Zurich (Switzerland).
GROUP B: Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Rennes (France), Fenerbahce (Turkey), AEK Larnaca (Cyprus).
GROUP C: AS Roma (Italy), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Real Betis (Spain), HJK Helsinki (Finland).
GROUP D: SC Braga (Portugal), Malmö (Sweden), Union Berlin (Germany), St Gilloise (Belgium)
GROUP E: Manchester United (England), Real Sociedad (Spain), Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova), Omonia (Cyprus).
GROUP F: Lazio (Italy), Feyenoord (Netherlands), Midtjylland (Denmark), Sturm Graz (Austria).
GROUP G: Olympiakos (Greece), Qarabag (Azerbaijan), SC Freiburg (Germany, Nantes (France).
GROUP H: Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), AS Monaco (France), Ferencvaros (Hungary), Trabzonspor (Turkey).